Since this is a collection of several novellas and short stories, I’ve decided to break from my usual format and do short, bulleted reviews for each title in the collection. In this series, the author imagines a world in which vampires coexist with human everywhere except Romania. The absence of vampires is the responsibility of The Little Council, including Liana Cantacuzino and other descendants of Romanian families with some natural resistance to vampiric powers. When the president requests that Liana help sneak a vampire into Romania, the secrets she learns will forever change the way Romanians interact with vampires.
The Impaler’s Revenge
* I liked the intro, which did a good job showing instead of telling to introduce the world. There was just enough hinting at plot points to get me curious.
* I really liked Liana, who was tough not stupid about accepting help
* The interaction between Liana and the vampire was great. They both come across as pretty cool people and their banter made the book fun
* There were a number of typos I felt should have been cleaned up by the time a book is being republished as part of an anthology
* This ended up being a great mix of politics and action, both fascinating
* The writing felt a bit flat to me. There wasn’t anything distinctive about it and it didn’t create a particular atmosphere
* I liked the romance, which developed in a slow, believable way and didn’t take over the plot
* Good twist on the vampire origin story and fascinating plot twist at the end
* Good use of a novella! The relationship between Liana and her love interest needed this development, but separating this out helped keep the previous book from being too focused on the romance
* This is basically just one scene though, very short even for a novella
A Victory That Counts
* While at war, Liana decides to torture someone and her emotions about the whole thing seemed flat and unbelievable. She basically thinks “I don’t want to do this, but oh well”. Then afterwards she’s a bit upset about it but not much.
* Her boyfriend is also nonplussed by the torture, which may make him a good boyfriend but also makes him a pretty bad human being
* I was really disappointed by how the moral questions were ignored in this book. In addition to the torture being treated so lightly, Liana also ignores evidence that not all vampires evil and that some of the rulers in her country are very evil. I wish so badly that had been the focus of this book!
* From the torture scene, this was all downhill for me. I just couldn’t connect with Liana and her motivations
Casualties of War
* This is not a good use of a novella. The way the protagonist’s love interest gets kidnapped and how she deals with that is not something that can be left out. Personally, I don’t think a novella should be essential to the plot
* I’m a bit tired of the damaged female paranormal protagonist who must hide her feelings because she’s been hurt in the past. The way things play out here turned our protagonist into one of those characters.
* About the only likable thing about Liana in the last book were her feelings for Jesse. Suppressing those is making her less relatable
* The typos are far more common and more annoying in this book, several on most pages
* I really like how she handled the interaction with vampires in this book too. Very gutsy!
* The plot is pretty good, but the battles and the climax lack oomph. They’re just not epic enough
* This could be a fun, light, action-packed story, but the protagonist’s callousness and the typos made it hard to enjoy
* I think this book was intended to address the moral issue, but while it’s talked about a little and Liana abruptly changes at the end, it wasn’t very believable
The Third Wheel
* I liked this happy little novella, which wrapped up the political situation and everyone’s love lives pretty well
* There are still typos, but not as many as in the last book
* The story doesn’t make any more sense than Liana’s change of heart at the end of the last book, but if you accept that, then this story works